Milestones in our 45-year history

Friendship Force International celebrated its 45th birthday in 2022! View the most important milestones in our history below.


March 1, 1977: Founded by Wayne Smith and launched by President and Mrs. Carter at the White House

July 4, 1977: First FF experience involving 762 friendship ambassadors in a simultaneous exchange between Atlanta, USA & Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England



Introduction of the Friendship Force club system


Instead of a few large chartered two-way exchanges every year, FF changes to one-way exchanges on regularly scheduled airlines.

⇒ reduction in group size (20-25 ambassadors)

⇒ worldwide expansion of the homestay program with 250-300 exchanges yearly


ARMS (American Russian Mutual Survival) exchanges link the Soviet Union and the United States


Nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize as a result of FF’s initiatives between the United States and the Soviet Union


2,000 Olypmic athletes’ families hosted during the Summer Olympics in Atlanta


US clubs partner with Open World bringing emerging government and civic leaders from mostly post-Soviet countries to the United States to work with their American counterparts during 10-day professional visits


Exchanges are now called ‘Journeys


COVID-19 strikes and FFI starts offering Virtual Experiences and a Pen Pal Program in addition to its homestay program


Launch of the Friendship Force members-only platform at (myFF)


Celebration of 45 years of Friendship Force International

Since its founding in 1977, the Friendship Force has brought together millions of people in friendship!